Today we begin the painful process of revisiting the worst moments in Chargers history and voting on which moments were actually worse. For the impatient types you can see the whole bracket right now by clicking here.
The first thing you'll probably notice is that we left out non-football bad moments. There are no DUIs, no drug scandals, no police involved shootings and no suicides. This is by design as this exercise is ultimately supposed to be entertaining and focusing on real world tragedies isn't going to be fun for anyone.
The next thing you'll probably notice is that some of your "worst moments" didn't make the cut. There are a few reasons for this. The biggest reason is that there are a lot of really awful moments in Chargers history. Seriously, this was depressing to seed. The other reason is that you are wrong. This probably happens to you a lot, so I suspect you're used to it.
That brings us to our first contest: (1) The drafting of Ryan Leaf vs (8) 4th & 29.
(1) On April 18, 1998 the San Diego Chargers selected Ryan Leaf out of Washington State University with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft. For the right to select the young quarterback they traded the third overall pick, a future first round pick, a second round pick, and three-time Pro Bowler Eric Metcalf to the Arizona Cardinals. Leaf would go on to have a terrible three year run with the Chargers culminating in a 1-15 season before being cut on March 2, 2001. Ryan Leaf is widely considered the greatest bust in NFL Draft history and that's without even accounting for the price the Chargers paid to move up to select him.
(8) On November 25, 2012 the San Diego Chargers were on the verge of upsetting the Baltimore Ravens. With 1:37 remaining, a three point lead and needing only to prevent a fourth down conversion of 29 yards the game was all but won. Joe Flacco took a shotgun snap, scanned the field and then threw a short checkdown pass to Ray Rice, who ran through a gaping hole in the middle of the field with at least three different Chargers defenders missing tackles.
Which was worse?
For my money, trading up to draft Ryan Leaf is significantly worse than giving up a big fourth down conversion in an already lost season. Vote and tell us what you think in the comments.